San Francisco Giants' Top 10 Prospects for 2014

Mike Rosenbaum@GoldenSombreroMLB Prospects Lead WriterJanuary 3, 2014

San Francisco Giants' Top 10 Prospects for 2014

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    Is Kyle Crick the Giants' next homegrown ace?
    Is Kyle Crick the Giants' next homegrown ace?Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    While it was a down year for San Francisco Giants pitchers, the same can’t be said for the organization’s promising young arms in the minor leagues.

    Two of their top pitching prospects, right-handers Kyle Crick and Clayton Blackburn, headlined one of the best rotations in the minors at High-A San Jose—a rotation that also included up-and-coming left-handers Adalberto Mejia and Ty Blach. Meanwhile, another left-hander, Edwin Escobar, jumped on the fast track to the major leagues last year with a dominant performance between San Jose and Double-A Richmond.

    In terms of hitters, well, the Giants’ system lacks an impact bat. Mac Williamson stands out among the team’s collection of talent for his robust raw power, but there’s legitimate concern as to whether the hit tool will hold up at higher levels.

    However, the organization did add a pair of intriguing prospects through the draft this past June, selecting bat-first infielders Christian Arroyo and Ryder Jones within the first three rounds.

    Here’s a look at the San Francisco Giants’ top 10 prospects for the 2014 season.

10. Martin Agosta, RHP

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 04/07/1991 (Age: 22)

    Height/Weight: 6’1”, 180 pounds

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted: second round, 2012 (St. Mary’s)

    ETA: 2015

     

    2013 Stats

     

    Scouting Report

    Fastball is effective in low 90s and down in the zone; will manipulate the pitch to generate either cut and sink; can reach back for a few extra ticks when necessary; made strides developing his slider this season, which flashes average potential; demonstrates a great feel with a plus changeup, throwing it with outstanding arm speed and late fading action; overall command is fringy and will need refinement moving forward.

    Projection as a starting pitcher is dependent upon ability to flood the strike zone and take command of entire arsenal; arsenal gives him a more realistic chance of reaching his ceiling as a reliever; has passed all tests as a starter; candidate to bypass the California League and jump directly to Double-A next season.

     

    Ceiling: No. 3/No. 4 starter; late-inning reliever

     

    Risk: high

9. Ty Blach, LHP

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    Position: LHP

    DOB: 10/20/1990 (Age: 23)

    Height/Weight: 6’1”, 200 pounds

    Bats/Throws: R/L

    Drafted: fifth round, 2012 (Creighton)

    ETA: 2015

     

    2013 Stats

     

    Scouting Report

    The 6’1”, 200-pound left-hander lacks physical projection; plus command profile with excellent present feel for pitching; fastball can flash plus velocity but mostly sits in the low 90s with late sinking action; knows how to spot the pitch throughout the strike zone.

    Breaking ball is fringy with a generic slurvy shape; changeup has above-average potential and serves as his go-to secondary offering; sells the pitch with an ideal, fastball-like arm action; future back-end starter if his command survives Double- and Triple-A.

     

    Ceiling: No. 4/No. 5 starter

     

    Risk: medium

8. Heath Hembree, RHP

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 01/13/1989 (Age: 24)

    Height/Weight: 6’4”, 210 pounds

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted: fifth round, 2010 (College of Charleston)

    ETA: 2014 (debuted in 2013)

     

    2013 Stats

     

    Scouting Report

    Projects to be a late-inning reliever at big-league level with a power frame and easy low- to mid-90s fastball; relied on ability to blow heater by hitters up in the zone in the past but focused on improving his command this season.

    Slider flashes plus potential with late, tight break that generates swing-and-misses; his changeup is nothing to write home about and may not even be necessary; off to a nice start with Giants as a September call-up and figures to have a role in the team’s 2014 bullpen.

     

    Ceiling: setup man/closer

     

    Risk: low

7. Mac Williamson, OF

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    Position: OF

    DOB: 07/15/1990 (Age: 23)

    Height/Weight: 6’5”, 240

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted: third round, 2012 (Wake Forest)

    ETA: 2015

     

    2013 Stats

     

    Scouting Report

    Physical specimen at 6’5”, 240 pounds; doesn’t involve much projection; surprisingly good athlete for his size; average speed plays better in the outfield than on the basepaths; plus arm strength ideal for right field. 

    Right-handed hitter with plus-plus raw power; lacks elite bat speed and his hands can be somewhat dead with a slow trigger; long-ish swing may be exploited in Double-A; relies on sheer strength rather than explosiveness; doesn’t consistently pick up the spin on breaking balls; susceptible to quality sequencing; will need to consistently improve in all facets of the game to reach his ceiling.

     

    Ceiling: average major league player/platoon

     

    Risk: high

6. Clayton Blackburn, RHP

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 01/06/1993 (Age: 20)

    Height/Weight: 6’3”, 220

    Bats/Throws: L/R

    Drafted: 16th round, 2011 (Edmond Santa Fe HS, Okla.)

    ETA: 2015

     

    2013 Stats

     

    Scouting Report

    This 6’3”, 220-pound right-hander has physical, durable frame; current size involves little projection; command of four pitches is highly advanced for his age; demonstrates polish and pitchability beyond his years; pounds the strike zone with each offering; generates as many ground balls as he does swing-and-misses.

    Works from high three-quarters arm slot; plus fastball sits 91-93 mph with late, arm-side life; maintains velocity deep into starts; demonstrates command two-seamer to both sides of the plate; curveball has good pace and downer action and should grade as above-average at maturity; made big strides in development of his changeup this season, which should be another above-average or better pitch; also mixes in a slider that lags behind his other offerings.

     

    Ceiling: No. 3/No. 4 starter 

     

    Risk: medium

5. Christian Arroyo, SS

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    Position: SS

    DOB: 5/30/1995 (Age: 18)

    Height/Weight: 6’1”, 180

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted: first round, 2013 (Hernando HS, Fla.)

    ETA: 2016

     

    2013 Stats

     

    Scouting Report

    At 6’1”, 180 pounds, Arroyo lacks standout athleticism; below-average runner but still moves with fluidity on the field; right-handed hitter with sneaky pop for his size; strong top hand; employs an up-the-middle approach that allows him to consistently stay inside the ball; present over-the-fence power comes to his pull side; has a tendency to pull open with his front and roll over hittable pitches to the left side of the infield.

    Arroyo was a decorated shortstop as an amateur and has been developed there since turning pro; possesses quickness and speed to handle the position at higher levels; could move across infield to the keystone down the line; relies on excellent instincts and high baseball IQ; shows solid hands and gets rid of the ball quickly; plus arm strength is suitable for any infield position.

     

    Ceiling: second-division regular

     

    Risk: high

4. Adalberto Mejia, LHP

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    Position: LHP

    DOB: 06/20/1993 (Age: 20)

    Height/Weight: 6’3”, 195

    Bats/Throws: L/L

    Signed: March 2011 (Dominican Republic)

    ETA: 2015

     

    2013 Stats

     

    Scouting Report

    This 6’3” left-hander has grown into his lanky frame over the last year; uses his height and extension toward the plate to work on a consistent downhill plane; demonstrates a present feel for working down in the zone with entire arsenal.

    Fastball sits in the low 90s with life, and he showed the ability to reach back for 93-94 more often this season; secondary arsenal steadily improved against advanced competition; changeup is slightly more advanced than his slider, but both have the potential to be at least average at maturity.

     

    Ceiling: No. 3/No. 4 starter

     

    Risk: high

3. Chris Stratton, RHP

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 08/22/1990 (Age: 23)

    Height/Weight: 6’3”, 186

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted: first round, 2012 (Mississippi State)

    ETA: 2015

     

    2013 Stats

     

    Scouting Report 

    This 6’3”, 196-pound right-hander has a projectable frame; present feel for sequencing pitches; effectively changes hitters’ eye levels; fastball registers in the low-90s with late, arm-side life; occasionally scrapes mid-90s.

    Slider is a legitimate plus pitch; can throw it for a strike as well as bury it for swing-and-misses; command of the pitch was sharper this past season; mixes in an average changeup and curveball to complete a mature four-pitch mix; above-average command profile should help him move quickly in 2014.

     

    Ceiling: No. 3/No. 4 starter; late-inning reliever

     

    Risk: medium

2. Edwin Escobar, LHP

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    Position: LHP

    DOB: 04/22/1992 (Age: 21)

    Height/Weight: 6’2”, 200

    Bats/Throws: L/L

    Signed: 2008 by Texas Rangers (Venezuela)

    ETA: 2014

     

    2013 Stats

     

    Scouting Report

    Escobar has a mature, 6’2”, 200-pound frame that requires little projection; use of strong lower half allows him to consistently repeat delivery; left-hander’s arsenal is advanced for his age and already has him on the fast track to the major leagues.

    The 21-year-old will work in the 88-92 mph range with his fastball; he’ll pop 93-94 mph several times in a given start; pitch flattens out and lingers up in the zone if he doesn’t get on top and drive toward the plate; adept at adding and subtracting with the pitch so as to keep opposing hitters off balance.

    The southpaw’s curveball serves as his go-to out-pitch; he threw the pitch with a truer shape this year as opposed to the slurvy one he threw in 2012; he guns for the strikeout with the pitch, getting both right- and left-handed hitters to chase it in the dirt;

    Escobar demonstrates a feel for a changeup but is still learning how to turn the pitch over consistently; outstanding overall control and command profile; the combination of his arsenal and general feel for sequencing should help him reach the major leagues earlier than expected in 2014.

     

    Ceiling: No. 3/No. 4 starter

     

    Risk: low

1. Kyle Crick, RHP

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 11/30/1992 (Age: 21)

    Height/Weight: 6’4”, 220

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted: first round, 2011 (Sherman HS, Texas)

    ETA: 2015

     

    2013 Stats 

     

    Scouting Report

    Possesses highly projectable frame at 6’4”, 220 pounds; strong core and lower half; struggles to maintain posture at times, causing his arm to drag slightly; effortless fastball velocity in the 93-96 range; bumps 97-98 mph.

    Showed improved command of the pitch this season; establishes early in games; changeup is a second plus pitch; excellent arm speed and velocity separation relative to fastball; plus movement with considerable arm-side fade.

    Curveball is still a work in progress but flashes plus potential when he’s on; impressive shape and pace but shoddy command; struggles to get on top of pitch rather and will frequently come around the side.

    Slider has late bite and should serve as a viable fourth pitch at maturity; aggressively attacks hitters and maintains consistent approach even when command is shaky; feel for sequencing should improve against more advanced hitters.

     

    Ceiling: No. 2 starter

     

    Risk: high